I would like to know whether these phrases "English Department" and "Department of English" have the same meaning. Thanks!

  • 1
    I can’t think of a way they’d be different, although they’re titles of sub-organizations and thus chosen by the college or university or whatever. – Xanne Jul 23 '19 at 1:52
  • As @Xanne says, different universities etc. have different ways of naming their departments (and themselves; Anytown University vs. University of Anytown). – Kate Bunting Jul 23 '19 at 10:36
  • Thanks for your explanation too! – Student Jul 23 '19 at 10:49
  • I've not been able to find an internet example where 'English D/department' is not synonymous with 'Department of English'; the latter, almost certainly, has to be the educational sense (as in say 'CDT Department' or 'Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences'). Contrast 'The French department of Aude', say. Synonymity is strongly suggested by the fact that googling "English Department" turns up many examples headed 'Department of English', but note that many prestigious bodies seem to prefer the periphrastic of to the attributive noun construction. It is doubtless seen as the ... – Edwin Ashworth Jul 23 '19 at 11:16
  • more prestigious or at least the more formal variant. Note also that 'Department of CDT' and 'Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department' (such bodies are actually named on the internet!) don't really sound too hot. – Edwin Ashworth Jul 23 '19 at 11:16

One difference may be that if you say english department, you may add to that. This would imply that the department is part of a wider range. You could say "This is the English department of the univesity" which would definitize the existence of other departments within that university. However, if you were to say "This is the department of English" there may or may not be other departments.

I hope that this helps ;)

  • Thank you very much for explaining it to me! – Student Jul 23 '19 at 10:49

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